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A New Edition of

"The Century's" Cheap-Money Papers.

IN compliance with many requests for an edition

in larger type and more enduring form, the articles on "Cheap-Money Experiments," which appeared originally in this department of THE CENTURY, and were afterward collected and republished in a pamphlet, have been again republished by The Century Co. in an attractive volume. It is printed in large, clear type, and neatly bound in cloth. Some additional chapters, which have appeared in THE CENTURY since the publication of the pamphlet, have been added. In its amended form the book is, even more than the pamphlet was, a compact and comprehensive handbook of the most notable attempts which have been made in past and present times to attain State or national prosperity by making money" cheap and plentiful." No similar compilation is to be found in the whole range of economic literature.

In calling attention to this new publication of the "Cheap-Money" articles, it is pleasant to record the fact that since their first publication a death-blow has been formally administered to the Free-Silver heresy, which, in many respects, was the most dangerous "cheap-money" delusion that ever confronted the American people.

In writing about the evils which free silver coinage would entail, in THE CENTURY for May last, we said:

No great party in the United States, in national convention assembled, will dare make itself responsible for the distress that would fall upon the masses of our population from free and unlimited silver coinage.

The national conventions of the two great parties have verified this prediction by putting into their platforms such explicit declarations against free silver coinage as to eliminate the question completely from the campaign. After their action it is safe to say that the danger of the free and unlimited coinage of a debased silver dollar has passed away, probably forever. The question has been taken out of politics, and it would be well for the country if all other financial questions could be taken out with it. In a thoughtful, intelligent, and patriotic address which he made on "The Silver Question in its Relations to Legislation," before the Iroquois Club of Chicago, in March of last year, Mr. James Herron Eckels stated this point in words which we cannot do better than quote as summing up accurately and forcibly the only sound view to be taken:

I am not unconscious of the fact that in and of itself this question has no place in politics. Under right and proper circumstances, its solution belongs to the professed financier, and not to the professed politician; but, unfortunately, those circumstances do not now surround it. Through an error that in the past has been costly, and in the future bids fair to be fraught with disaster, it has been taken out of the list of business issues and thrust among those of a political character; and with regard to its political bearing rather than with reference to its effect upon the material interests of our country, it is being presented to the people.

The French Assignats and Mandats.

It would have been reasonable to suppose that the ex

perience which France had with cheap money under John Law's guidance in the early part of the eighteenth century, as described lately in these columns, would have imparted a lesson not soon forgotten. But such was not the case. Before the end of the century a new and not dissimilar experiment was made in the same direction, ending, like its predecessor, in failure and almost boundless confusion and disaster.

One of the first and most serious troubles which confronted the republic established by the French Revolution of 1789 was the scarcity of money. This was due to many causes, but chiefly, says Thiers, to the "want of confidence occasioned by the disturbances." The same authority adds the following general truth about circulation, which is applicable to all countries and in all times: "Specie is apparent by the circulation. When confidence prevails, the activity of exchange is extreme; money moves about rapidly, is seen everywhere, and is believed to be more considerable because it is more serviceable: but when political commotions create alarm, capital languishes, specie moves slowly; it is frequently hoarded, and complaints are unjustly made of its absence." To increase the supply of circulating medium, it was proposed that the National Assembly issue paper money based on the Church lands which had been confiscated by the Government. These lands were yielding no revenue, but were a heavy burden. The money, to be called assignats, was really a form of titles to the confiscated lands; for it was receivable in payment for them, and was designed, in addition to furnishing revenue to the Government, to bring about a distribution of those lands among the people. The debates of the National Assembly upon the proposition showed that John Law's experiment had not been entirely forgotten. There was strong opposition, but it was overcome by arguments that bear a curious resemblance to some which are heard in our day in favor of various forms of cheap money which are advocated for the United States. "Paper money," said one of the advocates of the assignats, "under a despotism is dangerous; it favors corruption: but in a nation constitutionally governed, which takes care of its own notes, which determines their number and use, that danger no longer exists." How like that is to the argument heard here, and in the Argentine Republic as well, that a great and rich and prosperous and free nation could make its own economic laws, invent its own monetary systems, and even defy the teachings of all other nations with entire safety! These curious arguments carried the day in the National Assembly, and a first issue of assignats, to the value of 400,000,000 francs, was issued in December, 1789. They bore interest, and were male payable at sight, but no interest was ever pa


the assignats never circulated at par. A few months after the first issue, demands began to be made for a second issue, as is invariably the case in all experiments of this kind. Talleyrand opposed the second issue in a speech of great ability, many of whose passages have passed into economic literature as model statements of fundamental monetary principles. "The assignat," he said, "considered as a title of credit, has a positive and material value; this value of the assignat is precisely the same as that of the land which it represents: but still it must be admitted, above all, that never will any national paper be upon a par with the metals; never will the supplementary sign of the first representative sign of wealth have the exact value of its model; the very title proves want, and want spreads alarm and distrust around it." And again: "You can arrange it so that people shall be forced to take a thousand francs in paper for a thousand francs in specie, but you never can arrange it so that the people shall be obliged to give a thousand francs in specie for a thousand francs in paper." Still again: "Assignat money, however safe, however solid, it may be, is an abstraction of paper money; it is consequently but the free or forced sign, not of wealth, but merely of credit." In answer to the arguments of Talleyrand, the most effective, because most "taking," argument, if argument it can be called, was the following by Mirabeau: "It is in vain to compare assignats, secured on the solid basis of these domains, to an ordinary paper currency possessing a forced circulation. They represent real property, the most secure of all possessions, the land on which we tread.'

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The advocates of money based on lands who are heard in our country to-day will recognize their own doctrine in this resounding phrase of Mirabeau. It carried the day in the National Assembly, and in September, 1790, a second issue of assignats, to the value of 800,000,000 francs, bearing no interest, was ordered.

The decree for this second issue contained a pledge that in no case should the amount of assignats exceed twelve hundred millions. But the nation was drunk with its own stimulant, and pledges were of no value. In June, 1791, a third issue of 600,000,000 was ordered. This was followed soon afterward by a fourth issue of 300,000,000, and by a new pledge that the total amount should never be allowed to exceed sixteen hundred millions. But this pledge, like two others that had been made before it, was broken as soon as a demand for more issues became irresistible. Fresh issues followed one another in rapid succession in 1792, and at the close of that year an official statement was put forth that a total of thirty-four hundred millions had been issued, of which six hundred millions had been destroyed, leaving twenty-eight hundred millions in circulation.

Specie had disappeared from circulation soon after the second issue, and the value of the assignats began to go steadily and rapidly downward. Business and industry soon felt the effects, and the inevitable collapse followed. Ex-President Andrew D. White, whose tract," Paper Money Inflation in France," is the most admirable and complete statement of this experience which has been published, says of the situation at this stage:

What the bigotry of Louis XIV., and the shiftlessness of Louis XV., could not do in nearly a century, was accomplished by this tampering with the currency in a few months. Everything that tariffs and custom-houses could

do was done. Still the great manufactories of Normandy were closed; those of the rest of the kingdom speedily fol lowed, and vast numbers of workmen, in all parts of the country, were thrown out of employment. In the spring of 1791 no one knew whether a piece of paper money, representing 100 francs, would, a month later, have a purchasing power of 100 francs, or 90 francs, or 80, or 60. The result was that capitalists declined to embark their means in business. Enterprise received a mortal blow. Demand for labor was still further diminished. The business of France dwindled into a mere living from hand to mouth. This state of things, too, while it bore heavily against the interests of the moneyed classes, was still more ruinous to those in more moderate, and most of all to those in straitened, circumstances. With the ply became a speculation - a speculation in which the promasses of the people the purchase of every article of supfessional speculator had an immense advantage over the buyer. Says the most brilliant apologist for French Revolutionary statesmanship, "Commerce was dead; betting took its place."

In the early part of 1792 the assignat was 30 per cent. below par. In the following year it had fallen to 67 per cent. below par. A basis for further issues was secured by the confiscation of lands of emigrant nobles, and a flood of assignats poured forth upon the country in steadily increasing volume. Before the close of 1794 seven thousand millions had been issued, and the year 1796 opened with a total issue of forty-five thousand millions, of which thirty-six thousand millions were in actual circulation. By February of that year the total issue had advanced to 45,500,000,000, and the value had dropped to one two-hundred-and-sixty-fifth part of their nominal value. A note professing to be worth about $20 of our money was worth about six


The Government now came forward with a new scheme, offering to redeem the assignats, on the basis of 30 to 1, for mandats, a new form of paper money, which entitled the holder to take immediate possession, at their estimated value, of any of the lands pledged by the assignats. Eight hundred millions in mandats were issued, to be exchanged for the assignats, and the plates for printing the latter were destroyed. Six hundred millions more of mandats were issued for the public service. At first the mandats circulated at as high as 80 per cent. of their nominal value, but additional issues sent them down in value even more rapidly than the assignats had fallen, and in a very short time they were worth only one thousandth part of their nominal value. It was evident that the end had come. Before the assignats were withdrawn, the Government resorted to various expedients to hold up their value by legisla tive decrees. The use of coin was prohibited; a maximum price in assignats was fixed for commodities by law; the purchase of specie was forbidden under penalty of imprisonment in irons for six years; and the sale of assignats below their nominal value was forbidden under penalty of imprisonment for twenty years in chains. Investment of capital in foreign countries was punishable with death. All these efforts were as futile as similar efforts had been in John Law's time. The value of the assignats went steadily down. Breadriots broke out in Paris, and the Government was compelled to supply the capital with provisions. When the mandats fell, as the assignats had fallen before them, the Government was convinced that it was useless to

try to give value to valueless paper by simply printing more paper and calling it by another name; and on July 1, 1796, it swept away the whole mass by issuing

a decree authorizing everybody to transact business in any money he chose. "No sooner," says Mr. McLeod, in his " Economical Philosophy," " I was this great blow struck at the paper currency, of making it pass at its current value, than specie immediately reappeared in circulation." In commenting upon this second experience of France with paper money, which lasted for about six years, Prof. A. L. Perry, in his "Elements of Political Economy," thus graphically and truthfully sums up the consequences:

The distress and consternation into which a country falls when its current measure of services is disturbed and destroyed, as it was in this case, is past all powers of description. The prisons and the guillotine did not compare with the assignats in causing suffering during those six years. This example is significant because it shows the powerlessness of even the strongest and most unscrupulous governments to regulate the value of anything. The assignats were depreciating during the very months in which Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were wielding the power of life and death in France with terrific energy. They did their utmost to stop the sinking of the Revolutionary paper. But value knows its own laws, and follows them in spite of decrees and penalties.

Campaign Blackmailing of Government Clerks. MR. THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speaking in the name of the National Civil Service Commission, issued a timely warning in the July “ Atlantic" against all levying of assessments upon governmental employees during the presidential campaign. He wrote with characteristic plainness and force, and set forth both the law in the case and the attitude of the Commission toward offenders with such clearness that his utterance cannot fail to have a restraining influence upon all persons tempted to violate the statute.

As he pointed out, the law seeks to provide both for the protection of the office-holder and for the punishing of the politician who seeks to get from him a portion of his salary. It provides, under heavy penalties, that no office-holder shall in any way solicit or receive assessments or contributions for political purposes from any other office-holder; that no person, office-holder or otherwise, shall solicit such contribution in any federal building; that no office-holder shall in any way be jeopardized in his position for contributing or refusing to contribute, as he sees fit; and that no office-holder shall give any money to another office-holder for the promotion of any political object whatever.

It is well to give these provisions the widest possible publicity at this time, in order that all men may become familiar with them and act accordingly. Mr. Roosevelt gives emphatic assurance that the Commission will protect all office-holders whose positions are threatened because of refusal to contribute, and will ask the indictment and recommend the dismissal of all superiors in the service who attempt any intimidation of subordinates. He invites complaints of all instances in which contributions are solicited, promising to treat them as confidential and to endeavor to punish the guilty person without revealing the identity of the informant. He also declares that it is the intention of the Commission during the present campaign, whenever it finds an individual or an organization trying to assess Government office-holders, publicly, through the press, to call the attention of everybody to what is being done,

and to invite any information which will enable the Commission to prosecute the offenders.

In regard to the practice which has prevailed in some recent campaigns, of sending circulars from State or National committees to the private residences of office-holders, instead of to the public buildings in which they are employed, thus evading the letter of the law, while violating its spirit, Mr. Roosevelt says the Commission will also call public attention to every case of this kind which it discovers, and will assure all Government employees that they can disregard all such appeals without fear of losing their places.

These are all public-spirited purposes, and no one familiar with Mr. Roosevelt will doubt that he will adhere to them with vigor and determination. The practice is an abominable injustice, and ought not to be allowed in a single instance. It does not prevail to anything like the extent to which it was carried before the present law was enacted, but the evil is by no means abolished. Fear of loss of place, or chance of promotion, impels many a clerk to give who would never contribute a penny could he feel assured that his refusal would have no effect upon his tenure or prospects. The hardship which such extortion entails is pictured vividly, but with entire truthfulness, by Mr. Roosevelt in the following passages:

Government employees, as a whole, are hard-working, not overpaid men, with families to support, and there is no meaner species of swindling than to blackmail them for the sake of a political organization. The contribution, moreover, is extorted from them at a time when it is often peculiarly difficult for them to pay. To take away two per cent. of a man's salary just at the beginning of winter may mean that he will have to go without a winter overcoat, or his wife and children without the warm clothing which is almost a necessity.

Moreover, it is the poorest and most helpless class who are most apt to be coerced into paying. In several investigations undertaken by the Commission, we found that it was women who were most certain to pay, and that the women opposed in political faith to the administration were even more apt to pay than the others.

Can any self-respecting person read that and not flush with indignation that such things are possible under a free, popular government? Could there be a meaner or more despicable business for a man or a party to be engaged in than this levying of political blackmail upon hard-working, deserving, and poorly paid men and women? Mr. Roosevelt is right in thinking that publicity will be a powerful weapon to use against all men caught in this business. The American people would be made of poor stuff indeed if they did not arise in wrath against such unworthy specimens of their race. The abuse has been tolerated only because the public attention has not been aroused to it. Let us have the names of the offenders, and specifications of their offenses, published to the world, no matter how high they may stand in official life, and the thorough extermination of the evil will be soon accomplished.

Mr. Roosevelt gives a valuable hint to the extortioners, at the close of his article, by reminding them that in case of a defeat of their party at the polls in November, it will be much easier to obtain evidence against them from their victims after election, than it would be were the party to succeed.

VOL. XLIV.-104.


The Crisis of the Civil War.

The position that I held in 1862 and 1863 was that of Chief of the Bureau of Military Railroads, charged

T the celebration of the opening of the Northern with the duty of constructing, reconstructing, and operat

A Pacific Railroad, of which was at that time the gen- ing all

eral manager, two of the guests present were President Chester A. Arthur and Secretary of War Robert Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln sent for me with a request for a brief interview, and stated that he desired information upon a subject that had elicited much discussion, and upon which a careful examination of the war records, both of telegrams and letters, failed to throw any light. He said that upon entering his father's room one morning, just after the battle of Gettysburg, he found him in great distress, and upon inquiring the cause, the President stated that information had just been received from General Haupt that General Meade had no intention immediately of following up his advantage; that he intended to rest for several days; that without an immediate movement of the army the enemy would be permitted to cross the Potomac and escape; that the fruits of victory would be lost and the war indefinitely prolonged. He asked if I had sent any letters, telegrams, or other communications in which this information had been given.

I replied that I had communicated such information either to the President or to General Halleck, but in what way I could not then remember.

Two years ago I commenced to write the memoirs of the operations of the Military Railroad Construction Corps, and in one of my letter-books found a full and satisfactory explanation. From this it appears that after spending the forenoon of Sunday, the day following Lee's retreat, with General Meade, I took an engine the same evening and repaired to Washington and as early as possible on Monday morning made personal report to General Halleck; informed him of the situation and the conclusions I had reached, that, unless General Meade could be induced to change his plans and move immediately, the enemy would certainly cross the river and escape. It was, no doubt, immediately after this interview that General Halleck called on the President and communicated the information that gave him so much distress.

The President and General Halleck have been severely criticized in some quarters for the words of censure sent to General Meade, which, it was claimed, did injustice to a gallant officer who had performed services of the highest value. Certain it is that the predictions in regard to the escape of Lee were verified: he was not disturbed for ten days; he crossed the Potomac July 14, 1863, and the war, which, in my opinion, might have been then substantially ended, was prolonged for two years with immense sacrifice of blood and treasure.

As the battle of Gettysburg was the turning-point in the great struggle, and as antecedent events with which no one now living is familiar except myself had apparently an important influence upon the result, my friends insist that it is a duty to place certain facts on record.

operations of the war, but especially in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where I directed operations personally. I reported directly to the Secretary of War and to General Halleck, but necessarily kept in constant communication with the general in command of the army in the field, that I might know his plans, his requirements in the way of transportation, and the lines to be operated upon.

When Lee was moving toward the Potomac for the invasion of Pennsylvania, I supposed as a matter of course that General Hooker would follow him up and that, as a necessary consequence, the base of supplies must be changed and the rolling-stock transferred from the line of the Orange and Alexandria to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. I went to the front to consult with General Hooker, and found him under a tree two miles from Fairfax Station.

In answer to my inquiries, he replied that he did not intend to move until he got orders, and that he would follow them literally and let the responsibility rest where it belonged. He said that he had made suggestions that were not approved, and if he could not carry out his own plans he could not be held accountable for failure if he literally carried out instructions of which he disapproved.

Regarding the situation as critical, I returned as soon as possible to Washington and made report to General Halleck in person. General Halleck opened his desk and took out a bundle of papers, from which he selected several which he read to me. They were communications which had passed between General Hooker and the President, of which copies were al ways sent to General Halleck.

From these papers it appeared that Hooker's plan was to capture Richmond while the army of Lee was absent from it, and that the President had replied, in substance, that it would be a poor exchange to give Washington for Richmond; that if, as stated, the enemy was spread out in a long thin line, with one flank resting on Fredericksburg and the other on the Potomac, it would be much better to break through his line and beat him in detail. This was about the substance of these letters, as I remember them.

After reading these papers, General Halleck put on his cap and left the office, no doubt to confer with the President. In half an hour he returned, and quietly remarked, "Hooker will get his orders." This was all he said, but a few days after General Hooker was relieved at his own request, and the command conferred upon General Meade.

General Meade and I had been classmates at West Point, graduating in 1835. I appreciated the difficulties of his position. Called unexpectedly to the com mand of an army the several corps of which were scattered, and with no plan of operation required to

form his own plans and prosecute a campaign with but little time for consideration, it was certainly a most trying situation.

The following special orders were issued:

WASHINGTON, June 27, 1863.

Special Orders, No. 286.
Brigadier-General H. Haupt, United States Volun-
teers, is hereby authorized and directed to do whatever
he may deem expedient to facilitate the transportation of
troops and supplies to aid the armies in the field in Vir.
ginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

By command of Major-General Halleck.

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

June 28, 1863, General Meade telegraphed General Halleck, acknowledging the receipt of the order placing him in command of the army, and stated that he was ignorant of the exact condition of the troops and the position of the enemy.

I repaired promptly to Harrisburg, as the best point

at which to obtain reliable information as to the situa

tion. I found Colonel Thomas A. Scott at the depot, showed him my orders, and asked for a full report. He informed me that Lee, who had occupied the opposite șide of the river in full force, had that morning, June 30, begun to retreat precipitately, in some cases leaving

provisions uncooked, and the artillery being on a trot. After hearing a full explanation, with many details unnecessary to repeat, I told Colonel Scott that he was entirely in error as to the cause of Lee's retirement. My explanation of the movement was that Lee had just received information that Hooker had been relieved and Meade placed in command; that Lee knew that our army corps were widely scattered, and that some days would be required before Meade could get them in hand; and that the movement of Lee was clearly not one of retreat but of concentration, with a view to fall upon the several corps and crush them in detail, in which case Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia would fall into his possession; and I added emphatically, "We are in the worst position that we have occupied since the commencement of the war, and nothing but the interposition of Providence can save us from destruction."

Colonel Scott replied: "I think you are right.

What can be done?"

I immediately, at 10 P. M., sent this telegram:

HARRISBURG, PENN., June 30, 1863. MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, General-in-Chief: Lee is falling back suddenly from the vicinity of Harrisburg and concentrating all his forces. York has been evacuated. Carlisle is being evacuated. The concentration appears to be at or near Chambersburg. The object, apparently, a sudden movement against Meade, of which he should be advised by courier immediately. A courier might reach Frederick by way of Western Maryland Railroad to Westminster. This information comes from T. A. Scott, and I think it reliable. H. HAUPT, Brigadier-General.

at Gettysburg, rather than at Chambersburg. The movement on their part is very rapid and hurried. They returned from Carlisle in the direction of Gettysburg by way of the Petersburg Pike. Firing about Petersburg and Dillsburg this P. M. continued some hours. Meade should by all means be informed and be prepared for a sudden attack from Lee's whole army. H. HAUPT, Brigadier-General. (And repeat to General Meade and General Schenck.)

General Meade subsequently informed me that he received these telegrams by courier in his tent at about 3 A. M. on the morning of July 1.

On July 1, I returned to Baltimore via Philadelphia, as the Northern Central had been broken, and organized transportation over the Western Maryland Railroad. J. N. Du Barry, superintendent of the Northern Central Railroad, was relieved at his own request, and management thirty trains per day were passed over this Adna Anderson placed in charge, under whose efficient road under extraordinary difficulties; and, as General Ingalls, Chief Quartermaster, stated, so efficient was

the service that at no time were the supplies insufficient

for three days' rations in advance. the Northern Central Railroad, on which nineteen I then directed my attention to the reconstruction of bridges had been destroyed, as also all the bridges on the Before midnight of July 5, all these bridges between branches between Hanover Junction and Gettysburg. Gettysburg and Baltimore had been reconstructed and the telegraph line restored, and on Monday morning, July 6, General Meade was in communication with Washington both by rail and telegraph.

On Sunday morning, the day of Lee's retreat, I rode to Gettysburg in a buggy, and repaired early to General Meade's headquarters, where I found Generals Meade and Pleasonton, and remained with them about three hours. The scene is vividly impressed upon my memory,

as also the conversation. We were seated at a small table, upon which was a map of the country,- Meade and Pleasonton on one side, I on the opposite side. General Meade was much surprised to learn that the bridges and telegraph lines had nearly been reconstructed, and that in a few hours he could begin to send his wounded to the hospitals. He remarked that he had supposed that the destruction of the railroads had been so complete that three weeks would be required nected with the battle had been related, General Pleasfor their reconstruction. After many incidents cononton made the remark that if Longstreet had concentrated his fire more and had kept it up a little longer, we would have lost the day; to which Meade made no reply, and appeared to acquiesce in this opinion.

After other matters had been disposed of, I remarked to General Meade that I supposed he would at once follow up his advantages and capture the remains of Lee's army before he could cross the Potomac. The reply was, "Lee's pontoon-trains have been destroyed, and the river is not fordable. My army requires a few days' rest, and cannot move at present." I was greatly surprised, and said decidedly, "General, I have a construction-corps that could pass that army Further information continued to be received, and in less than forty-eight hours, if they had no material at 12.45 A. M. I sent this second telegram :

HARRISBURG, PENN., July 1, 1863, 12.45 A.M. MAJOR-GENERAL H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief. Information just received, 12.45 A. M., leads to the belief that the concentration of the forces of the enemy will be

except such as could be procured from barns and houses and trees from the woods; and it is not safe to assume that the enemy cannot do what we can." All my arguments and remonstrances proved unavailing, and I left, when the interview ended, fully convinced

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